I've been practicing 4 - 5 note shell voicings for a while and I feel pretty confident going through some changes. The thought process when constructing chords is mostly the same with R-7-3 or R-3-7 on the lower part of the chord and then adding 5ths and extensions on top of that. But I'm having trouble when I need to read an inversion or a chord with a non chord tone below the root (Cmaj/D for example) because I can't find a systematic approach for constructing them anymore. What should be my thought process in this scenario?

(I'm using Phil DeGreg's Jazz Keyboard Harmony book as my reference.)

2 Answers 2


Your construction of shell voicings is correct. If there's a problem making shell voicings out of slash chords, I'd suggest having the bass note be the bass note, then adding whatever shell notes you'd normally put there if it's important that the bass note be the lowest. So maybe you could do D-E-C for C/D. If there are 7th chords or other extensions, then it'd be something like A-D-F-G for G7/A.


There's also another approach: using the Root 3 7 or R-7-3 as you said and then adding upper structure triads on top of them.

There's a monster book with all possible upper structure triads in all keys with exercises (630 pages) you can download in pdf

Jazz Piano Chord Voicings

you can find it here, among other upper-structure triads books: Upper Structure Triads Books

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